A few months ago I heard the sad news that Cafe Cosmo at the Glasgow Film Theatre was shutting down, to be replaced by a new Cinema 3. Unaware of the actual construction date, I was too late a few weeks ago to have a last drink there, arriving to find doors boarded up and the cafe gone forever.
Cafe Cosmo holds lots of good memories for me. I worked there for over three years during, (and a bit after), my student days and I couldn’t have asked for a more fascinating place to work really, when I think back on it. When I try to recall memories from that era (thirteen years ago- eeek), it feels like a lifetime ago, almost like I dreamt up all of the weird and wonderful characters who frequented the bar (and that was just the staff).
I worked alongside some really great people – there was always a mix of creative individuals on the staff; media/film students, art students, english students, artists, writers, musicians, actors...Having so many creative people working together in such close quarters made for some interesting conversations and nights out. One of my favourite parts of working in the cafe/bar was getting to chat to all the staff from across the cinema when they came in on their tea breaks (and if they were really lucky I’d make them a cheese toastie).
We had nicknames for a lot of the regular customers, like the Russian Prostitute and Mr Beige. One old guy used to come in a bit worse for wear, sometimes drunk, sometimes playing a guitar. Other times he’d come in, hair slicked back, glasses on, notebook poised, saying he was an artist and penned portraits of us that Picasso would be proud of.
I served a lot of famous and not so famous people from the media during my time there; I was usually oblivious to a lot of them, (it took me a year to recognise Peter Mullan - he was always very friendly and unassuming). I was sadly never working a shift when Ewan McGregor dropped by, but his Mum did help me clear tables after a function for one of his films.
I remember having to serve at the premiere of Late Night Shopping (a cool little indie film) looking ridiculous in an extra large promotional T-Shirt (as the promoters had kindly not sent any smaller ones).
There were quite a few stories about the bar being haunted (and the cinema in general) during my time working there. A common 'haunting' was bar staff hearing their name being called - this happened to me twice, once when I was by myself and it sounded really loud in my ear. A customer also experienced this- coming up to me one evening, asking if I'd been calling his name. He came back to me later, hesitantly saying he wasn't crazy, but he had a 'gift' and told me there was a young girl haunting the bar - she apparentely 'told' him she felt she'd died too young!
I can only imagine what you might experience when Cinema 3 arrives – possibly the icy fingers of the ghost girl creeping up your neck, wondering why you're sitting where her bar used to be...
Au revoir Cafe Cosmo, you will be missed.